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Canyon View girls send Millennium home, return to finals

Posted 2/28/24

After splitting both of their two regular season matchups with the home team as the victor both times, Tuesday night’s 5A conference semifinal between Agua Fria district and Desert West region …

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Canyon View girls send Millennium home, return to finals


After splitting both of their two regular season matchups with the home team as the victor both times, Tuesday night’s 5A conference semifinal between Agua Fria district and Desert West region rivals Millennium and Canyon View was the ultimate grudge match. 

All game long, Canyon View relied on sophomore guard Aaliyah Rogers. who led both teams on the night with 20 points.

In the biggest moment of the game, a missed shot by Jaila Flowers led to an offensive rebound by Jaylin Williams who found a Rogers on the wing. She drove to her left inside to the basket and layed in a tough basket over a Tiger defender to give the Jaguars a 48-44 lead and to ice away a 49-46 victory.

“I’m so happy, I can’t believe we won like that, I’m just in shock and I’m so happy we won it’s amazing,” said Rogers

With the victory, the Jaguars advance to the 5A conference championship game for the second consecutive season and will face off against the Sunrise Mountain Mustangs in a rematch of last year’s title game. The 2022-23 Mustangs defeated Canyon View 52-47. 

Sunrise Mountain (26-6) lost four starters from that team but made it back as the #5 seed.  Tipoff is at 7 p.m. Friday, March 1 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix.

“We’re going to start watching film and start preparing for Sunrise Mountain but for us the key will be for us to do what we do and not let what other people are doing affect us or shake us, we want to come in and stay true to Canyon View and what got us here,” said Jaguar head coach Desirae Carranza.

The first matchup between both teams was a triple overtime battle that saw the Tigers come out in front. In the second game, the Jaguars earn their first ever win over Millennium in the process.

For the third showdown between these teams in a calendar month, both sides knew each other well and knew their tendencies down to a tee. That played into why it was only a two point game with under a minute to go. 

Throughout the game, the Jaguars were forced to adjust. Early in the first quarter, Flowers picked up two fouls in just four minutes of game time and was forced to sit on the bench for the remainder of the first half.

“I knew that even if I wasn't on the court I needed to affect the game by cheering on my teammates and encouraging them to keep the score close,” said Flowers.

This led to extended minutes for Williams, who knocked in two big three pointers. Keira Lewis came off the bench and got to foul line twice and knocked in a three pointer for five points on the night. 

“Hats off to the girls for being able to adjust and step up and take on their roles and persevere through everything that was thrown at them so far this year and tonight,” said Carranza. 

Foul trouble played a role for the Tigers as well, as both senior Elli Guiney and freshman Dashia Richardson picked up two fouls in the first half.

With both teams forced to play conservative defensively, neither side could gain a large lead in the first half and following two free throws by Rogers, the Jaguars took a 26-25 lead into halftime. 

Free throws were crucial to Rogers and the game plan of the Jaguars,  especially in the second half as she was sent to the charity stripe four separate times during the half and three times in the fourth quarter.

“I had to keep going to the hole because they kept fouling me and I knew I had to make my free throws to keep us in the game,” said Rogers.

The second half played out as a heavyweight championship bout with both sides getting physical and the officials allowing a lot of leeway and not calling many fouls in the process.

This did impact the Jaguars. Late in the second half, Senior Mia Burgess was pulled to the ground and a tussle ensued for possession of the ball for five seconds before a jump ball was called.

During that event, Burgess had her leg rolled up on and had to be helped off the court and did not play for the remainder of the game. 

“I think our perseverance tonight and overall has been the key to our success this season. Our point guard (Bernadette Carranza) went out with a torn meniscus, Raeanna Love and Jaila Flowers were out and had to adjust that and move people around, Mia Burgess was out with a concussion for a month and we had to move things around again and we did that again tonight,” said Carranza. 

The loss of Burgess did not hurt the Jaguars as junior Katelyn Jewell was thrown in the game as a defender and did not give up a basket. 

Players such as Jewell and Williams making big plays to compliment Flowers and Rogers for the Jaguars were crucial in closing out their rival.

It was Millennium's first 5A playoff loss in the last six years. And the schoo's last, as the Tigers return to 6A next year.

“I think all of our hard work with these girls has paid off. We don’t have four star and five star players. My staff and I worked our butts off developing the kids, we believed that came first and it paid off,” said Carranza.